Monthly Archives: June 2018

2018 Cookery Project — First-Half Review

Some of the meals I made in the first half of 2018.  Click on any picture to launch a full-screen slide show view:

Advertisements

2018 Cookery Project — Slow Cooked Lamb Shanks in Red Wine

Slow Cooked Lamb Shanks in Red Wine

Slow Cooked Lamb Shanks in Red Wine

So here we are, halfway through the 2018 Cookery Project. The final dish for this segment is Slow Cooked Lamb Shanks in Red Wine. Lots of red wine—a full 750 ml bottle of Garnacha de Fuego. The recipe comes from a site called Genius Kitchen, but there was no admissions exam, so I figured I could sneak by.

You brown the lamb shanks in a big frying pan, then put them in a lidded casserole dish to keep warm. Then you put chopped carrots, onions, and garlic in the pan, add some rosemary and bay leaves, and cook them long enough to get that slightly glazed, caramelized look. That’s when you add the red wine, some beef stock, and brown sugar. Bringing it to a low boil, and pour it over the lamb shanks in the casserole dish.

I cooked it for three hours at 325°. The meat just fell off the bone, which is exactly what it was supposed to do.

Not a classic meal, but good enough.


Rating

★ Disaster. Inedible. Poisoned the cat.
★★ OK, but once is enough.
★★★ Mixed results. Something went wrong, but might try this again.
★★★★ Good, but lacks that special something.
★★★★★ Excellent. Goes into my “This is a winner” file.

The Art of Duane Hanson

Haven’t done one of these “the Art of…” in quite awhile.

After lunch at 701, I walked a few blocks to the American Art Museum. The museum shares a building with the National Portrait Gallery, and has a beautiful enclosed courtyard, which is the perfect place to read, or write, or just hang out after a meal.

There’s one objet in the museum’s collection that always surprises me, no matter how many times I stumble across it: Duane Hanson’s “Woman Eating”.

Hanson’s life-sized, fiberglass figures are so realistic you wonder why a museum guard doesn’t tell them to “move on, because you can’t do that here.” The American Art Museum adds to the fun by periodically moving “Woman Eating” from place to place, so you never know where she’ll turn up next.

Woman Eating

Woman Eating


From Other Collections

Here are a few more images of Hanson’s works, gathered from around the Web. Only two of the figures in these images are real live people. They’re easy to spot.

701 Restaurant — Lunch on 15 June 2018

The 701 Restaurant, named for its address at 701 Pennsylvania Avenue, is one of my can’t-go-wrong dining spots in Washington. As I’ve recounted to friends—more often than absolutely necessary, they tell me—the first time I ate there, Éric Ripert was at the next table, which made me confident that no server at 701 would ever ask me if I wanted fries with that.

The restaurant is doing a month-long lunch promotion in June, celebrating peak season for fruit. Last week, it was all about peaches.

Grilled Georgia Peach

Grilled Georgia Peach

My starter was this Grilled Georgia Peach salad, with ricotta, arugula, and spiced pecans.

Duck à la Peche

Duck a la Peche

For me, when it comes to Duck Confit these days, resistance is futile. If it’s on the menu, nothing else stands a chance of winding up on my plate.

The grain at the base is farrotto, which has been described as a more robust cousin of risotto. And the peaches were roasted.

Dessert

Dessert

The meal was…a little disappointing. I guess even the best places can-go-wrong occasionally. It wasn’t a bad meal, and the service was superb, but it just wasn’t up too 701’s usual very high standards. The peaches weren’t quite ripe enough, and the portions were small.

Next time, I think I’ll stick to the regular menu.

Look Out, Jamie Lee! He’s Back!

Forty years after the release of John Carpenter’s Halloween, Michael Myers is heading home. A new Halloween, which will be the 11th film in the franchise, retcons away all but the first two films in the series and takes place four decades after the events in those two movies.

Carpenter is the executive producer of the new episode.  Jamie Lee Curtis is back as Laurie Strode, now a grandmother. And, for the first time since the original movie. Nick Castle will reprise his role as Michael Myers.

It’s scheduled for release on 19 October 2018, just in time for…oh, you know.

2018 Cookery Project — Parsnip Gratin with Gruyère and Thyme

Parsnip Gratin with Gruyère and Thyme

Parsnip Gratin with Gruyere and Thyme

Lately I’ve been sampling James Peterson’s book, Vegetables, reading up on all the things I don’t know about turnips and rutabagas and bok choy. Somebody must use them, because even the sadly understocked Safeway near my condo, which routinely runs out of exotic products like milk and ground beef, always seems to have them in stock. But they’ve never been part of my repertoire.

Same with parsnips. I’m sure I’ve had parsnip purée, but I’ve never cooked with them myself, until now. I wanted to try something new, and I found a recipe for Parsnip Gratin with Gruyère and Thyme at Atelier Christine

Peterson describes the taste of a parsnip as being somewhere between a carrot and a potato, and I think that’s right on the money. My Parsnip Gratin, which required a lot of peeling and chopping and grating, tasted very much like good old scalloped potatoes. It was fine, but considering how much effort went into it, I was hoping for something more exciting.


Rating

★ Disaster. Inedible. Poisoned the cat.
★★ OK, but once is enough.
★★★ Mixed results. Something went wrong, but might try this again.
★★★★ Good, but lacks that special something.
★★★★★ Excellent. Goes into my “This is a winner” file.